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Associations between Sow Body Lesions with Body Condition and Subsequent Reproductive Performance

DOI: 10.4236/ojvm.2023.137010, PP. 111-121

Keywords: Caliper, Productivity, Shoulder, Sow, Vulva

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The objective was to determine the association between foot, leg, vulva and shoulder lesions with body condition and reproduction in group housed sows. Whiteline sows (n = 887) were measured before farrowing and at weaning at a commercial farm in eastern North Carolina. Foot and leg abnormalities included cracked hooves, toe length differences, overgrown hooves and locomotion. Vulva lesions were scored no lesion or lesion present. Shoulder lesions were scored no lesion, abrasion or open wound. Sow body condition measures included the Knauer sow caliper (CS), body weight (WT), visual body condition score (BCS), backfat (BF) and longissimus muscle area (LMA). Sow production traits included number born alive, litter birth weight, number weaned, litter weaning weight, piglet survival (number weaned ÷ (total number born + net transfer)), wean-to-conception interval and average daily lactation feed intake. Data were analyzed in SAS using PROC GLM for continuous traits and PROC GLIMMIX for categorical traits. Vulva lesions were recorded on 17.6% of sows at farrowing and 0% at weaning. No shoulder lesions, abrasions and open wounds were recorded on 100%, 0% and 0%, respectively, of sows at farrowing and 73%, 21% and 6%, respectively, at weaning. Foot and leg abnormalities were not associated with body condition or reproduction. Vulva lesions at farrowing were associated with lower CS, WT, BCS and BF at farrowing, and reduced piglet survival (4.3%). Lower CS at farrowing was associated with increased shoulder abrasions and open wounds at weaning. Backfat and BCS at farrowing had curvilinear associations with shoulder lesions at weaning, a BF of 39 mm and a BCS of 4.2 minimizing lesions. Results suggest vulva and shoulder lesions were associated with thinner sows at farrowing and vulva lesions at farrowing were associated with lower piglet survival.


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